Adjusting Expectations

During the later half of pregnancy when it was apparent that this was really happening, I began dreaming about what life would be like with a new child. What kind of parents would we be? Would our baby be a good sleeper? Would she be a good eater? How long until tennis and running resumed? Olivia’s recent 2-month checkup and endless inquiries about how things are going have prompted some reflection on the first couple months of motherhood. The many thoughts floating through my head all share one commonality: the need for adjusted expectations.

Feeding:

Olivia only lost 5% of her weight upon discharge, so we thought breastfeeding must be going great aside from the normal soreness and latching battles of a newborn. Phew, one bullet dodged. However, two days later at her first visit to the pediatrician Olivia’s weight was down 12%. We were immediately pushed into formula supplementation. After a roller coaster of weight checks, visits with lactation consultants, herbal supplements and various feeding regimens, Olivia has now climbed to the 5th percentile for her weight. As such, the pediatrician advised us to continue with her current feeding regimen, which still includes a small amount of formula supplementation.

In today’s high tech world, why hasn’t someone invented a baby fuel gauge to alert parents as to their level of fullness? There are so many other gadgets and gizmos to monitor health and heart rate you’d think someone would have found a way to measure the amount of milk in a baby’s tummy. Envision a gas gauge on their forehead. This would certainly take the guesswork out of whether or not baby has received enough milk or if they need a supplemental bottle-feeding.

Dessert

Dessert

Adjusting my original expectation of being able to nurse 100% has been tough and would be even worse if it weren’t for the wonderful support and encouragement from friends. I will always wonder if our continued battles with low milk supply are a result of quickly being pushed into (and staying with) formula supplementation. We’ll just do what we can for as long as we can to keep our baby happy.

Hair Loss:

Oodles of friends warned me of post-natal hair loss. I thought I had escaped that lovely side effect since hair loss didn’t seem much worse than the normal girl-shedding phenomena. Think again. Almost exactly 8 weeks post-partum gobs of hair greeted my hand after a shower. Joy.

Co-Sleeping:

Pre-baby, the closest we thought we’d get to co-sleeping was having the baby at the foot of our bed in her beautiful bassinet. In reality she’s probably slept on us more than she’s slept in her bassinet :-/ Despite the warnings and admonishment from the pediatrician about baby getting used to her parents’ bed, when push comes to shove silencing a crying baby and getting her (and us) to sleep is all that matters. We’re doing our best to encourage her to sleep more in her bassinet both for naps and at night, but relinquishing a cuddly snuggle-bug to her lonely bassinet is tough.  That said, we certainly don’t want to end up with a toddler in our bed …

Favorite spot to sleep
Favorite spot to sleep

Schedules:

We always joked about those parents who let baby run the show and never knew what their schedule would be like. Shame on us! Someday (soon?) we’ll get back to being our prompt old selves but in the meantime it’s safe to assume we’ll be 15 minutes late and/or won’t know what time is good for a visit until that morning (even then it’s a bit of guesswork).

Returning to Tennis & Running:

By staying healthy and fit during pregnancy, I thought it would be a piece of cake to return to running and tennis in time for spring season. Ha! What was I thinking? Even if I were in shape, the logistics of running a race or playing a 2-hour tennis match some distance away from home is just too much to fathom while breastfeeding (plus there’s the fact that my tennis team is too competitive and politely refused my participation until I’ve spruced up a bit – fine by me!) For now Ben and I will enjoy tennis together (with no judgment at those errant shots) and my new personal trainer will keep me going in the jogging stroller and beyond (sit ups to baby giggles on your legs aren’t nearly so bad).

One more lap please, I finally fell asleep!

One more lap please, I finally fell asleep!

Returning to Work:

Pre-baby, I envisioned wanting to return to work as quickly as possible so as not to miss out on anything. I even went so far as to investigate part-time leave versus full-time maternity leave. How quickly things change. Amid a blurry haze of sleep deprivation, feeding cycles, and the holidays, somehow January 2 snuck upon us in the blink of an eye.  The European family-leave policy sounds quite appealing right now. Priorities certainly do change after a baby, even for us Type A workaholics. Who wouldn’t want to spend all their time with this little munchkin?

 

Accepting Help:

Perhaps the biggest adjustment of all is learning to accept help. We no longer believe that we can do it all on our own and are so very lucky to have the support of friends and family, especially on weeks that this working momma is home alone.

We’ll do our best to keep updated photos posted for your enjoyment.

Cape Escape 2011

Returning to reality after a much needed vacation is always difficult, but a necessary evil in order to make vacation something special. Despite the original weather forecast of rain every day, we were pleasantly surprised with gorgeous blue skies on Friday, and periodic sunshine for the rest of the trip.

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As per usual, it’s difficult to jump into vacation and leave work entirely behind, especially when trying to juggle too many tasks. A Friday afternoon jog provided the necessary leg stretching and fresh sea air to shove work to the back of the brain and replace it with a vacation mentality (4.34 miles per Garmin, amazing what a difference the view makes to make the time fly).

Just for good measure, it was time to tack on a seashore stroll and photo shoot to fully capture the beautiful Friday.

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We were able to get one step further into the vacation embrace with the arrival of Kate, Stu and Abby Friday evening. Who can resist those sweet eyes and baby embrace?I miss them already!

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Abby enjoyed the wrapping paper on her present a bit more than the soft pillow itself, but what can you do?

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We braved the threat of rain for Ben’s first trip to the islands … Martha’s Vineyard that is. The Caribbean will have to be another trip. Temperatures reached 70 and we all got some pink cheeks. It’s not just Texas where the weather can change on a dime. Note the sky changing as we make our way around the island. Starting out with sunshine on the ferry out of Woods hole passing through clouds, arriving at more sunshine in Vineyard Haven to see lighthouses.

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Shopping and lunch in Oak Bluffs where the weather then turns back to clouds and even some rain.

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We escape the drizzle in Edgartown to watch fudge being made, then proceed to the South Shore where the wind whips along the water.

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We toured around the tip of Gay Head through trees reminiscent of curvy Irish roads opening to cliffs and another lighthouse.

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Then back on to Vineyard Haven (with only a few dead ends) for some final shopping and to catch the ferry home.

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Looking forward to the next escape!

For more pictures click on any of the above thumbnails or visit the Photo Gallery. Additional pictures including the few group photos and Yahtzee with Grandma are available via Dad’s photo gallery: http://gallery.me.com/djcronin/100321

P.S. We won’t hold back on the tennis court next time.

Warrior Dash

Go Warriors! Great job, Lisa. Glad we could share the fun!

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For full photos go to: http://jacob-family.us/v/WarriorDash

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To get to the finish you had to go through the fire

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And into the mud

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Some people really got into it …

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Will there be a next time? Dylan would probably prefer not. * WPG2 Plugin Not Validated *

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Garmin Heart Rate Monitor

I finally caved and bought a Garmin GPS & Heart Rate monitor yesterday. My wonderful husband took time out of his birthday weekend to calibrate it and get me up and running (literally). Below are the results of the maiden voyage with the device (short as it was), Ben riding alongside me on his bicycle. I love my new toy! More posts to come.